Maybe it’s in my face– that “look” that tells the street hawkers that I’m an easy one. Or maybe it’s in my demeanor, the way I walk that perhaps oozes motherly gullibility. Or maybe it’s my Upstate New York accent- we’re all hicks up here, lol. Whatever it is, I am a MAGNET for street hawkers and vendors. Sometimes I surprise them and walk away or say “no,” but word is out that when Rebecca’s visiting Manhattan, put on your finest charms for she’s a softy. Every time I go to New York, they get me.
This time it was the Skittles Man. How I wish I’d gotten a photo of him! He probably would have posed for one, too, after all the wheeling and dealing he had to do.
We’d been enjoying the scorching sun and fresh briny air of Battery Park, at the lowermost tip of Manhattan island. A ferry was filling with tourists in preparation for a trek across the harbor to see the Statue of Liberty.
This was the closest I’d ever been to the Statue of Liberty. Even when I lived in Manhattan as a young student, I didn’t see the landmark; in the 80s when I was here, the Statue was undergoing repairs and was closed to the public then. I considered taking my daughters to see it today, but then I read that the wait time for the ferry was approximately two or more hours! And I thought waiting in line to see the Empire State Building was agonizing….
Anyway, so we sat on solar-powered benches that had reached 1000 degrees thanks to the super-hot day and lack of trees. We watched the ferry bob precariously up and down and back and forth (can you say seasickness?) while the people continued to load the boat. We watched the dozens of helicopters buzz around the islands like dragonflies (the sightseeing helicopter rides must be very popular). And the salty smell of the sea burped out from small iron grates on the concrete piers.
After sweating off a good portion of the gallons of water we’d slaked down earlier, we decided to call it a day and head for the subway (the trains are air conditioned now! woohoo!). On the way there, the Skittles Man accosted us.
Well, he didn’t exactly ACCOST us. But pretty close, lol. He appealed to the tender hearts of “young ladies,” and grasped our hands with vigorous handshakes. He was selling Skittles candies for a school fund raiser. Four bags were *only* $20. TWENTY DOLLARS for candy. Uh huh. I told him thanks but no… was he selling bottles of water, per chance? We were nearly fainting from the heat. We started to walk on, but he followed us, shoving a paper under our nose.
I don’t remember all that he said, he seemed to go on forever. All I could think was “I’m about to perish from this heat,” lol. He said if we didn’t want any candy, he’d accept a donation, even a dollar. LOL. That made me chuckle. I looked in my wallet for a $1 (well worth the cost to get us on our way), but can you believe it, I was out of ones?!?! All I had was a $5. *sigh* I handed him the $5 and said, “Here ya go, a donation!” He profusely thanked me and handed me a bag of Skittles, saying we deserved a bag of treats. I took the bag and wished him well, and we were on our merry way to cooler ground.
He was so charming, I must admit. The perfect salesman. He would get an “A” for effort in my book. Which probably explains why I fall for these things. I mean– WHO would pay $5 for a bag of Skittles?! I never, ever would in Upstate New York. Nay, the city makes you do strange things, like dole out money to street hawkers… well, I tell you what, next time I’m coming loaded with $1 bills and a ton of water.